Are all estate agents dodgy? Do all journalists lie?

A 3-minute read.

I was recently asked by a couple of clients, what was it like working with estate agents?

The truth is, it’s very similar to working with journalists.

For context, I’ve worked in journalism since 2004. And I’ve been a PR man turned content marketer for estate agents since 2015.

So, I’ve got a foot in both camps, and I’d like to think an understanding of what a great agent does and how a brilliant journalist behaves.

There are plenty of similarities between excellent agents and the best journalists.

For starters, they both lay claims to being omnipresent members in the top ten least trusted professions whenever this tired old annual report is wheeled out.

Below are seven skills I see the elite performers I’ve met in both industries share.

1) They are good people. Estate agents were often ashamed to share what they did for a living. “A slippery estate agent, eh?” was one response an agent told me he received when at a kids’ birthday party he told another parent what he did. Sure, there are dodgy characters in both professions, but they don’t last the test of time. The good guys and girls usually win in my experience.

One thing I often heard was, ‘A reporter, eh? Not going to write a report about me, are you?’ Met with a smile and the thought in my head ‘not likely mate because you’re too bleeding boring.” Anyway, back to the skills.

2) Good with people. The best journalists I’ve worked alongside were the most connected. They knew everyone they needed to. They took the time to get out there and get known. I see the same approach from leading agents. Their community knows them and what they stand for.

3) Tough Nuts. Call it resilience, durability or mental fortitude. Both professions face a lot of negative responses. “No, we don’t want to sell our home with you.” “No way do I want to speak with you about my wrongdoings etc.” The best kept going until they got what they were after. Undaunted and undamaged. Being brutally honest this was a weak area of mine. I took rejections to heart.

4) Serious about their craft. The best estate agents I work with are all over podcasts, books, courses and opportunities to learn more about their profession. The best journalists I’ve shared offices with are the same. They take their qualifications and knowledge building very seriously. As an editor once said to me about taking exams and qualifications seriously ‘just because people write it doesn’t make them a journalist.’

5) Pressure handlers. I’ve always been struck with how the best agents keep calm during stressful situations like fragile chains and dealing with problem tenants/home sellers. A busy newsroom approaching the deadline to get the paper to print or a story online is a hugely pressurised environment. Some floundered, the best flourished.

6) Generous. Going back to point one. The best agents usually support their communities in kind and charitable ways. Check out Location Location in London, Knightsbridge Estate Agents in Leicester and Sacha Scott in Nork as evidence of that. And while reporters don’t usually earn enough to be philanthropists the elite are often kind, patient and generous when asked for advice or help.

7) They are obsessed with competition. This is the one area that the best of the very best from both industries stand out. The cream of the agency world feature people who are obsessed about improving their service, their skills, the results they get clients. The most committed journalists I’ve met are entirely focussed on their craft and being the best, breaking the big stories, grabbing the front page.

Looking back at these seven shared traits and skills they could be applied to many elite performers in all walks of working life.
Be that in an estate agency office, newsroom, building site, classroom or anywhere, people are striving to be the best they can be.

Thanks for reading.